Sixteen-year-old slacker Callie James would rather make robot creations and surf waves with her best friend Will. Then she discovers a mysterious glowing rod under the ocean surface, and her entire world turns upside down.
Callie is a Luminaut (aka a light wizard) and it’s her destiny to reunite the shattered multiverse by collecting all the Light Cores (aka the glowsticks of doom) in all the other worlds. To do this, she must repair the World Diver, the fifty-foot tall robot lurking in Dr. Ormandi’s basement hangar.
Pursued by murderous interdimensional phantoms and plagued by insecurities, Callie must protect her family and friends, while figuring out who to trust. And all before a deadly, looming evil snuffs out her Light for good.
(Excerpt shortened for this World Diver book review)
Author: Haylie Hanson
Genre: YA Fantasy/Science Fiction
*Thank you Uncommon Universes Press for the eARC. All opinions in this review are my own.
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World Diver in a Nutshell
Welcome to the life of Callie James, average high school student, middle child, and surfer bum. When she stumbles upon an artifact in the ocean, she’s pulled into the world of light magic, sentient robots, and hot dead guys. In between trying to please her parents with extracurricular activities and sports and navigating everyday high school drama, Callie must find out what this powerful object does, where it came from, and why on earth her hands are suddenly glowing when she touches it.
World Diver is a fun read that puts a fresh twist on a classic story plot (teenager gains superpowers and saves the world) while diving (pun not intended) into deeper issues, like parental pressure, sibling rivalry, and challenges of high school. With that said, the main tone of this book is light and witty; it’s perfect for teens looking for a quick, summer read (and parents of teens that are looking for clean content!).
What I Liked About This Book:
The Characters: Haylie Hanson expertly captures typical YA stereotypes and puts a fresh spin on them. I felt like I knew her characters. I’m pretty sure Callie and I would’ve been best friends in high school, had a guy-friend like Will at one point, and would’ve most certainly had a crush on Nate. I would also like to order my own adorable robot sidekick, please.
The Narrative: Callie’s voice is distinctive. She’s quirky and witty, like a hybrid of Sam Whitwicky from Transformers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The overall tone of the book is lighthearted, which is honestly refreshing when compared to many of the YA Fantasy books that are hot on the market right now.
The World: Luminauts, world divers, sentient robots, light magic. I never would have thought that science fiction and fantasy could be blended into one novel, but the author does it really well. We’ve all heard about wizards and the “chosen one” archetype. I think World Diver’s lore is what sets it apart from similar novels. It’s all of it is so refreshingly original and fun. Truly, I’m in love with the world of World Diver. Because of that, I can’t wait for the next book to come out.
What I Didn’t Love
As much as I fell in love with Callie’s voice later, it took me a while to become acclimated to her. Callie’s voice is very distinctive. It’s witty, quirky, and at times, completely random. In the beginning, the word choice and off-beat writing style pulled me out of the story quite a bit. It is very different from other novels I’ve read, which isn’t necessarily a negative, just a forewarning for future readers. Give it time. I think you’ll love the narrative once you get used to it.
It also took me a while to become invested in the plot. We began the book with an otherworldly, exciting event (Callie finding the Light Core), but in the next chapter, we’re pulled into Callie’s mundane family and school life. It was a tough transition. I wanted to move the plot along to learn about the glowstick of doom was.
Throughout the book, Callie questions the point of being a Luminaut and the necessity of the Light Core. I found myself wondering the same thing. I was curious about the lore, but I also didn’t get a good grasp of what was at stake until the villain finally rolled around when I was about a 1/4 through the book. The good news is, when the villain and sentient robots arrived on the scene, I was reeled back in.
Would I Recommend?
Yes. Definitely, yes. Completely original world, fun characters, and addictive voice. Even if you’re like me and get stuck in the first few chapters, World Diver is well-worth your time and patience. There’s a very good chance you’ll become a fan 😉
Have you already read World Diver? What did you think? Let me know below. Also, If you’re looking for more exciting science fiction and fantasy books, check out my recommendations on Instagram!
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